Re: chunking without chunking (MSIE8 and Chrome issues?)

That's really broken.

I note that the transfer-encoding header uses "Chunked" -- capital C  
-- as the value. While this is allowed (transfer-codings are case- 
insensitive), it's atypical; I wonder as well if they've got some  
extension or library that's inserting that.

My library just gives up when it can't parse the chunk size on that  
URI. How do you get a chunk size of 0 out of that?

The forgiving thing to do would be to consider a chunk size parsing  
error as a trigger to fall back to content-length or connection close  
(whichever happens first) and consider the connection dirty (i.e.,  
don't reuse it); I imagine this is what IE and Chrome are doing. As  
you point out, there are some security (and probably interop) issues  
here, though. I wouldn't do it, personally.

Anybody from IE or Chrome care to comment here? IMO this is an area  
where browsers shouldn't be forgiving.


On 17/06/2009, at 4:40 PM, Adrien de Croy wrote:

> Hi all
> sorry, today seems to be a run of issues.  We found a website that  
> sends Transfer-Encoding: chunked, but then doesn't send the data  
> chunked.  This means the first line of content is parsed as a chunk  
> header, which resolves to a chunk length of 0, since the first line  
> is non-numeric.
> OK, so this is obviously seriously broken.  And it broke our proxy,  
> since we decided we were getting a 0 chunk right up followed by a  
> bunch of extraneous data.
> However, it works in IE and Chrome.  Firefox spins its wheels  
> indefinitely.
> So, IE (8) and Chrome (2) can scavenge the data out of a stream that  
> is supposed to be chunked but isn't.  This is possibly a security  
> problem for these browsers.
> The URL I was hitting is
> It loads a bunch of JS pages, which exhibit this issue.
> The server is reporting itself as IIS 6.  Is this a common problem  
> with IIS, or is this likely to be a bug in their ASPX, e.g.  
> inserting the Transfer-Encoding header from script, but not actually  
> doing the chunking, and IIS 6 not trapping this?
> Handling this cleanly is difficult.  We get complaints from  
> customers that the proxy breaks the site, because their browser  
> works fine going direct to the site, so it must be the proxy's fault.
> Adrien
> -- 
> Adrien de Croy - WinGate Proxy Server -

Mark Nottingham

Received on Wednesday, 17 June 2009 07:12:38 UTC